I've got a cover story in today's Phoenix on Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty's little-noticed emulation of Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, whose truck-driving, blue-collar authenticity and squishy ideology offers the most compelling model for a GOP resurgence in the northeast.
Yesterday I appeared on Dan Yorke's radio show and suggested that, if Anthony Gemma failed to deliver the goods in his highly anticipated press conference, he could - remarkably - turn Congressman David Cicilline into a sympathetic figure.
Is that what we're seeing now?
I don't know that Gemma's press conference was the abject failure the blogosphere is describing; as I noted earlier today, there are plenty of voters out there inclined to believe the worst about Cicilline.
Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma's staff distributed packets to members of the media at today's news conference including a transcript of Gemma's speech, records which purport to show several voters registered at business addresses, copies of what the campaign says are sworn statements by Cicilline volunteers who say they witnessed fraud, and correspondence from Gemma to a handful of government agencies.
In the run-up to Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma’s highly anticipated press conference today, unveiling allegations of voter fraud by incumbent Congressman David Cicilline, the chattering class - this observer included - was pretty much unanimous: Gemma had to deliver the goods or he was finished.But as I write, something more complicated – and more interesting – is taking shape: a remarkable case study in Rhode Island’s strange relationship with the truth.
As Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty launches a radio spot calling on Congress to rein in spending, his Democratic opponent - David Cicilline - releases a new TV ad called "America," suggesting we should stop spending money in Afghanistan and Iraq and start building roads and bridges here.
The ad also highlights Cicilline's support for legislation that would end tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas.
Businessman and Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma's histrionics are greeted with some serious eye-rolling in political and media circles these days. And his latest statement, suggesting he'll reveal evidence of "criminal" activity by Congressman David Cicilline or his campaign in a Wednesday press conference, is no exception.
This morning businessman and Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma announced a press conference, scheduled for next week, at which he will discuss "why his campaign hired a private investigation firm to look into voter fraud" and "how investigating voter fraud revealed other potential criminal actions by David Cicilline and his associates."
Congressman David Cicilline's "Make it in America" block grant proposal, which would provide old-line manufacturers with grants to retool, retrain, and modernize, has largely been viewed through a political lens until now. It was featured in a campaign ad in 2010; the proposal has an obvious appeal to voters living through a punishing recession; and given Cicilline's position as a freshman Congressman in the minority party, the measure has had no chance of actual passage to date.
Not for Nothing is back from vacation. And the big news, whilst I was on the beach, was Mitt Romney's VP pick - Paul Ryan.
Ted Nesi, over at WPRI, tweets that he is working on an epic analysis of what the pick means for the Cicilline-Doherty race. His piece will, doubtless, be more thoughtful than mine. But I was pondering the question on my ride to work today and I've got a few quick thoughts:
Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma has made his share of mistakes this campaign season. He fled his official campaign announcement before answering questions from reporters. He made an impolitic comment about Iran's right to nuclear weapons, later retracted. And, perhaps most cringeworthy, he said he didn't have "enough information" to determine whether the United States should have intervened in World War II before Pearl Harbor to stop the Holocaust.
The Rhode Island Democratic Party is criticizing Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty today for accepting a $10,000 donation from Citizens Action, the PAC behind the Supreme Court case that struck down restrictions on independent political expenditures.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United does nothing but enlarge the voice of corporate America and give the special interests in Washington even more political power,” said Bill Fischer, spokesperson for the RI Democratic Party.
Congressman David Cicilline has made reviving Rhode Island's ailing manufacturing sector a central focus of his brief Washington career. And his push has dovetailed nicely with the Democratic leadership's "Make it in America" agenda, which calls for a national manufacturing strategy and tax policy that incentivizes "insourcing" over than "outsourcing."
Last week's Supreme Court decision upholding health care reform yielded a flurry of statements from Rhode Island pols, including the three contenders in the state's marquee race this cycle: Congressman David Cicilline, his Democratic challenger Anthony Gemma, and Republican candidate Brendan Doherty.
In the swirl of events, it seemed likely that the issue would become a significant one in the campaign.
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold health care reform places the issue front and center in the national political discourse. That'll make it hard for the players in Rhode Island's marquee Congressional race to avoid it, even if they'd like.
But how will it break here?
The issue doesn't figure to be a big one in the Democratic primary.
Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has an interesting post today voicing some surprise at all the hullabaloo, in the run-up to the Supreme Court's big decision on healthcare reform, about the politicized court.
As an institution, the court is insulated from party politics, but the
men and women who serve on it are increasingly selected through an
intensely political process meant to insure that they don’t disappoint
the party that promoted them.